A few years ago The Drive photographed a peculiar plane under construction at the California Airport. It was a bullet-shaped plane and little or nothing was known about it. Of him, there have been many leaks and images, but it has not been until now that Otto Aviation has officially presented him. It is the Celera 500L, a commercial aircraft that, according to the manufacturer, “is the most fuel-efficient and commercially viable aircraft that exists.”
As of today, the company claims to have completed 31 test flights with the prototype with satisfactory results. At the moment it is in the prototype phase and the next step will be to obtain Series B financing from investors. Beyond the challenges that the company faces in economic terms, the figures that the manufacturer promises are striking, and it is that its form factor, they say, helps the plane to be more aerodynamic and, therefore, consume less.
Up to 712 kilometers per hour with very low consumption
One of the metrics used when talking about fuel economy is miles per gallon (mpg), that is, the number of miles an airplane is able to fly on one gallon of fuel. Before we get down to business, a mile is 1.6 kilometers and a gallon is 3.78 liters. Otto Aviation guarantees that it’s Celera 500L is capable of flying between 18 and 25 mpg when a jet in the same category flies between two or three mpg. To give us an idea, a Boeing 747 consumes five gallons per mile, that is, about four liters per second.
The company has used a “laminar flow” on the surface of its aircraft in order to reduce aerodynamic drag by up to 59%, something that goes well with that peculiar bullet-shaped design. Inside we find a RED A03 engine, a liquid-cooled V12 with a power of 550 horsepower and made of aluminum. Thanks to this engine, the plane is capable of reaching 750 kilometers per hour and a range of 4,500 nautical miles, which is 8,334 kilometers.
Otto Aviation goes further and claims that its aircraft innovations also translate into greater economic efficiency. Without going any further, the firm explains that the hourly operating cost of the Celera 500L is $ 328, when “a comparable jet costs $ 2,100 per hour.” Again, to put it in context, Tom Farrier, a retired US Air Force pilot, explains that the hourly operating cost of a Boeing 747-400 is $ 25,000, although it depends on many factors.
The plane is designed to hold up to six passengers, although they also say it can be used for cargo operations and military applications. Be that as it may, at the moment it is in the financing phase, so the company does not expect to start manufacturing it until 2023-2025.